Donald E. Rowe, 83, church administrator

February 08, 2004

Donald E. Rowe, a retired minister and Church of the Brethren executive who lived in Westminster, died Tuesday at Johns Hopkins Hospital from complications of a fall. He was 83.

Born the son of a traveling preacher in LaGrange County, Ind., Mr. Rowe graduated from Indiana's Manchester College in 1943 and from Bethany Theological Seminary in Richmond, Ind., in 1946. That same year, he married his first wife, Mary Elizabeth Wright Rowe, who died of liver cancer in 1964.

After graduation, Mr. Rowe was ordained as a minister by the Church of the Brethren, and led two congregations before moving into regional church administration in 1954, working in Kansas and Illinois.

In 1965, Mr. Rowe married his second wife, Eleanor Garner Rowe, who said she was drawn to her husband by his outgoing nature.

In 1971, the couple moved to Maryland and Mr. Rowe became executive of the Mid-Atlantic District of the Church of the Brethren in Ellicott City. The district offices moved to New Windsor in December.

"He challenged the church," Mrs. Rowe said, taking a particular interest in the inclusion of minorities and women in its leadership.

Mr. Rowe retired in 1986, but continued to serve the denomination by participating on committees for several years. He enjoyed gardening (his specialty was tea roses), woodworking and traveling. His destinations included Switzerland, Austria and Germany.

Services will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday at Westminster Church of the Brethren, Bond Street and Park Place.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, Robert Rowe of Durham, N.C., and Donald Rowe of Westminster; two daughters, Carol Rowe of Lyons, Ill., and Susan Bartelstone of Maple Glen, Pa.; a brother, Ray Rowe of Frostproof, Fla.; a sister, Mary Huff of Sequim, Wash., and six grandchildren.

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